The European Industrial Hemp Association is bullish on the use of cannabis compounds as functional ingredients in food and drinks formulations, following the recognition of the medicinal values of the plant by the UN and the EU

By Murielle Gonzalez

A bottle of cannabis-infused milk on a wooden table

The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) has received a letter from the health services of the European Commission stating that cannabis compound CBD can be qualified as food. The message, received last week, was issued following a ruling by the European Cout of Justice that recognised the medical value of cannabis, accepting the recommendation of the World’s Health Organization (WHO) to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. The regulation was reserved for substances with ‘particularly dangerous properties’ and little or no therapeutic value.

“A truly historic moment for mankind – the United Nations, based on WHO recommendations, recognises the medical value of cannabis and removes it from Schedule IV of the 1961 Convention. Finally, the medicinal uses of cannabis is officially acknowledged,” said Daniel Kruse, president of the EIHA.

Kruse noted that industrial hemp and non-medical CBD still remain out of the scope of the Single Convention., and that’s why the decision to reschedule the compounds is even more important for the industry.

“In light of the comments received inter alia from EIHA, and of the recent European Court of Justice ruling, the European Commission concludes that CBD should not be considered as a drug and can be qualified as food,” said Kruse. “As the president of EIHA and as a pioneer of the hemp industry for 26 years, I truly thank the UN and our EU commission for these absolutely great Christmas presents!”

The news opens opportunities for companies to use hemp, CBD and other cannabis compounds as functional ingredients in food and drinks formulations. BevCanna, for example, is among the Canadian companies tapping into this market and has announced ambitious expansion plans with its recently acquired company Naturo, the maker of alkaline water Trace.

Novel food applications for cannabis-infused products

In practical terms, the recent statement by the EU means that the verification of the validity of EIHA’s Novel Food application has been resumed.

Lorenza Romanese, EIHA managing director, said: “As predicted, the European Court of Justice ruling has had a positive effect on the Commission’s position. Now that CBD can be qualified as food, the EIHA Novel Food joint application is perfectly set up for achieving safety assessment and standards for our growing industry.”

Romanese said the EIHA also welcomes the UN vote to reschedule cannabis and cannabis resin. “[The vote] leads to a modern and sound scientific approach regarding cannabis in general,” she concluded.

The EIHA represents the common interests of hemp farmers, producers and traders working with hemp fibres, shives, seeds, leaves and cannabinoids.

Its main task is to serve, protect and represent the hemp sector in the EU and international policy-making.

EIHA covers different areas for the application of hemp, namely its use for construction materials, textiles, cosmetics, feed, food and supplements.

Date published: 14 December 2020

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